Friday, August 16, 2013

School Breakfasts

It's that time of year again; The Start of a New School Year! That brings joy to the hearts of many, and terrifying, gripping fear to others. I believe I am over the kicking and screaming "NO!" stage of denial, and am ready to face the fact school is going to get rolling again, no matter what. And if you are like me, the most difficult part of the new school schedule is the every morning task of feeding the students breakfast. It is slowly becoming my nemesis. And this is something that every family, no matter where school happens, must face.

So in order to bring order to this part of our day, I have been planning and brain storming ideas for what to do.  I mean, when all nine eyes are staring at me like some starving children commercial, an I have no clue what to do for breakfast, our day has started in failure. And it is awfully hard to come back from that! All summer I have been coming up with menus, recipes and such, but was still amazingly overwhelmed with all the planning that was still going to be required on my part throughout the year. And then I was hit with an epiphany. I don't need lots of individual recipes for breakfast, I just need a general category for the days. And that's where this system came about.

I have 10 rotating "themes", if you will, that will give us two weeks worth of school day breakfasts before we start the rotation over. This will keep us from getting bored with the same-o same-o song and dance. Saturdays are open for trying new recipes or for the ones that take time (which we don't have on weekday mornings) to put together. And for us Sundays consist of muffins since we are doing the "get to church without fighting" shuffle. Let me break it down even better for you.

Here are my 10 categories:

1. Breakfast Casseroles: These are simple. You put them together the night before and in the morning let them bake off. My two favorites are a Sausage, Egg, and Cheese casserole and French Toast Casserole. With the number of casseroles out there, you could go months before you repeated a recipe!

2. Pancakes: Okay, so this one takes a little bit more time for us. I am a pancake snob (so I have been told) and only make mine from scratch. But it isn't that much more time for me. And whether we are having my Daddy's simple Heaven on a Plate pancakes, or ramping them up with add-ins like blueberries or mini chocolate chips, these are always a hit in our home. And again, you can change them up week to week and keep your breakfasts fresh without getting bored with the same thing over and over.

3. French Toast: This is a no brainer. It is SO fast and simple to make. We change ours up by sometimes adding cinnamon to the egg mixture or by using fruit syrups.

4. Scones: This is one that can take a bit of time. So I actually get the dough put together the night before. And, just like a biscuit, sitting in the refrigerator is good for it, so it's a win-win. We love pumpkin scones in the winter, strawberry scones in spring, and mix it up with cranberry-orange flavors and chocolate chip varieties as well.

5. Baked Oatmeal: I have many in my home that do not like oatmeal. It seems slimy to them when I make it. But they will eat baked oatmeal.  So we use regular rolled oats and steel cut oats and come up with lots of flavors. Apple, banana, and blueberry are big hits, as are pumpkin and cinnamon.

6. Mini German Pancakes: This is a new one for us. And it is a little more specific than many of the other ideas. But I see lots of fruit possibilities, and anything that is almost bite sized is a huge hit around here!

7. Fruit Breads:  These take a bit to bake, but they go together super fast. And, you can always bake them up over the weekend and serve them during the week. Applesauce Bread is a regular at our house, and we are dying to try out this Blueberry Cream Cheese Bread.

8. Nutella Berry Sandwich: Again, a little specific, but this sandwich has possibilities to mix it up. Some days we may use nut butters, we can change up the fruits, and mixing up the bread is always a possibility as well.

9. Breakfast enchiladas: We love anything wrapped in a warm tortilla. Eggs, sausages, ricotta cheese, fruit. It's all good stuff. And, if you are more adventurous than I, you could even use crepes instead of tortillas. I just look at crepe recipes to get ideas on what to put inside my "enchiladas". I bet you could even mix this day with hand pies. You know, apple pie, cherry pie, chocolate pie all wrapped up in a pie crust and baked off like a stuffed pizza.

10. Toast/smoothies: Some days, you just need a SUPER fast meal. Pop the bread in the toaster, through the fruit in the blender, and presto, you have a meal you can grab and eat as you run out the door. You can always add jelly, peanut butter or cinnamon to the toast, and the smoothie possibilities are infinite.

Sometimes, we might move away from the schedule. Have homemade bacon, egg, and cheese biscuits. Or biscuits and gravy. Maybe it is some one's birthday and they are dying for monkey bread first thing in the morning. We can handle that. But this is the baseline from which I will plan. It makes grocery lists easy, as I don't have to think up what we are eating, I just have to open the pantry and get out what is becoming our breakfast staples.

Our weekends will be reserved for cinnamon rolls, doughnuts, muffins, breakfast pizzas, and all sorts of other goodies. And of course, as you can see, Pinterest will keep us dreaming of new things to try out on the weekends.

Eat well, enjoy the few moments in the mornings with your family, and here's to a great start to the new year, and every day!